Mississippi Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
On April 20, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security announced assistance for Mississippians who are unable to work due to the coronavirus pandemic through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. This program will hopefully expedite the unemployment process for those that are self-employed and independent contractors. To read more about applying for benefits and your eligibility vist mdes.ms.gov.
If you have filed and been denied for regular unemployment since off work due to COVID-19, you DO NOT have to file a new claim with this new program. You will be notified of your potential PUA eligibility and any action needed on your part. You should continue to file your weekly certifications.
- Please be sure to use the correct Social Security Number. Using an incorrect number will greatly delay the claims process.
- Applications may be denied at first, as the self-employed and independent contractors are generally not eligible for benefits. However, your application will be reviewed under to new guidelines.
- Because you are applying as an independent contractor, you should list yourself as the employer, not your brokerage.
Click Here To: Learn More About Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Back to Business Mississippi Grant Program
What is the Back to Business Mississippi Grant Program?
On May 20, 2020, Governor Tate Reeves signed SB2772 into law, establishing the Back to Business Mississippi Grant Program. The grants will be used to help businesses in Mississippi with 50 or fewer employees recover from the economic impact of COVID-19, including operating expenses and salaries. The Mississippi Development Authority is now accepting applications from small businesses.
Congress Grants PPP Extension- Updated July 1, 2020
In a surprise move Wednesday the U.S. Congress cleared legislation extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), popular with REALTORS®, through August 8.
The measure now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign it.
Created by the CARES Act in March, PPP offers forgivable loans for small businesses to pay expenses and keep workers on the payroll. Loans are also available to independent contractors. Although the program quickly ran out of money, it was injected with new funding a month later. The application period for the program ended on Tuesday with $130 billion still unallocated.
“This extension is great news. Congress heard our concerns that small businesses still need help, and this program should remain available as long as there are funds,” says Shannon McGahn, senior vice president of government affairs at NAR. “We have been working with lawmakers to make both the application and forgiveness process easier, and we are helping our members through both with guides and instructional videos.”
Just last week, a new shorter EZ application loan forgiveness form was released by the Small Business Administration, and full forgiveness was granted to independent contractors and sole proprietors who meet certain guidelines.
“Congress is expected to pass a new Coronavirus relief bill by the end of July. McGhan says. “Negotiations really heated up this week on what form it will take as the pandemic continues to evolve. Small business aid will be restructured and live on in some form, and NAR is working with Congress to make sure the self-employed and independent contractors are included,” she continues. “It’s critical the real estate industry stays strong and continues to lead our national recovery.”
To-date the PPP has paid out more than a half-trillion dollars to around five million businesses.
SBA Rolls Out Major Updates to PPP- 6-17-20
The Small Business Administration and U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday rolled out major updates to the Paycheck Protection Program, offering automatic forgiveness for certain independent contractors and creating a broader application form for forgiveness.
Specifically, the updated forms clarify that the “owner compensation” amount automatically forgiven for borrowers who use a 24-week covered period, as opposed to the original eight-week period, is equal to 2.5 times their average monthly net income. This means independent contractors with a 24-week loan can have the full amount automatically forgiven under the new guidelines. The amount of forgiveness for borrowers who choose an eight-week period remains unchanged.
Borrowers who received their PPP loans before June 5 can opt for either an eight- or 24-week period in which to use their loan; borrowers who received their loans after that date must use a 24-week period. The new forgiveness forms reflect a 60% requirement for payroll expenses, down from the original 75%.
Additionally, the agencies created a streamlined “EZ Forgiveness Application” for borrowers who:
- Are self-employed and have no employees; or
- Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25% and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; or
- Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19 and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.
“NAR has been working closely with congressional leaders to loosen forgiveness requirements,” says Shannon McGahn, senior vice president of government affairs for the National Association of REALTORS®. “Small-business owners don’t have the resources to hire lawyers and accountants like large companies, and they shouldn’t be burdened with paperwork and red tape at a time when they’re trying to stay afloat. These new guidelines should go a long way to help.”
The deadline to apply for a PPP loan is June 30. The program still has funding available and will close at the end of the month unless Congress acts to extend it.
SBA interim final rule (reflecting the PPP Flexibility Act changes)
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